How to make swag for your group vacation

Recent obsession: making custom swag bags for trips with friends or family.

When my two favorite travel girlfriends and I went on a cruise to celebrate Mary’s birthday, Kristina and I collaborated to make custom shirts, fanny packs, and sweatshirts for the occasion. It was so fun and pretty easy, so when Tim’s family accepted an invite to spend the Christmas holiday in California with my family, I knew I wanted to make “welcome bags” for us all.

It’s a real sickness. I want to make swag for EVERYTHING now.

First, I discovered a free design software online called Vectr. I was yearbook editor in high school so I kind of remembered how to use Adobe InDesign, and this was a decent and totally gratis dupe. I traced a map of the US to make the outline, then traced a cartoon cactus and lighthouse to add a little local flare. (My parents live in Palm Springs and Tim’s parents are Maine-based.)

It’s a little tricky to find affordable customized items for a small group (many items have minimum order quantities of 50 or 100) but after combing the internet, I found some amazing items. Here’s what I did for our group of 7 people:

+ KOOZIES

Tim’s folks are beer drinkers, so this was an immediate must-have. They were only a couple bucks each online and even with shipping these were my most affordable customized item. I used inkbrander.com. Think about what your group enjoys and create an item they’ll actually use.

+ TUMBLERS

This was the only tumbler available on Vistaprint’s swag site, Promotique. I used the same logo and it couldn’t be easier. This way we’d also have something fun to remind us to hydrate despite all the adult beverages we’d be consuming.

+ CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS

Since it was Christmas, this was my most favorite idea. I love the simple frosted glass and how packable it would be for the family who’d be flying back home. Look for something appropriate to your theme or occasion.

+ WAX FOOD WRAPS

Not customized, but I love those Trader Joe’s waxed cotton food wraps and wanted to share the goods. You might want to do a similar gift of something inexpensive that you really enjoy and use in your daily life. (Kind of like how Candice Zamporini bought her family blow pokes. Y’know?) (If you don’t get my reference just exit my page now.)

+ SWEETS

Obviously! Candy canes, Dove chocolates, and stroopwafels felt perfect for Christmas.

Making a custom logo is a game changer and makes it feel ultra exclusive and special, but in reality it’s just a little extra work up front and you can use it (or versions of it) for all your custom swag!

Right now I’m also planning a bachelorette party and I am loving the items we’ve chosen. Every time I do a new swag bag I learn more and get better at it.

Have you ever made swag? Or maybe you have an event coming up that you might consider making some custom gifts for? I love it so much, please let me know all the details!